OPEN WIDE

Painless dentistry is lightened with a dose of laughing gas. Fans of Keller’s wacky The Scrambled States of America (1999) will find this a fact-filled, sure-fire, kid-centric introduction to a familiar staple of the elementary school curriculum: dental health. Here, Keller’s inspired conceit—a “tooth” school “class” presided over by the single-minded Dr. Flossman—offers almost endless opportunities for kid-pleasing puns and clever classroom asides. The book begins with roll call of the “incoming” students: thirty-two teeth (eight incisors, four canines, eight premolars, twelve molars, and four wisdom). The “school” day then progresses through typical classroom routines: announcements (“GO CHOMPERS”), a lesson featuring a cross-section chart of a tooth, a student report on “Primary Teeth,” an “informative” video on the Tooth Fairy, group process (incisors together please!), lunch (followed by brushing and flossing, of course), a lesson on tooth decay and cavities, and student reports on the history of dentistry. Check out the funny but fact-based multiple choice and True/False tests (Keller thoughtfully provides the answers). Dynamic book design mimics the untutored artwork of a particularly fun-loving and terribly talented ten-year-old. Keller employs a busy mix of stamp-pad art, ruled paper, notebook sheets, acrylics, colored pencil, crayon, marker drawings, and collage. Spiced with ample cartoony little asides (featuring appropriately costumed, fully ambulatory, and pleasingly smart-mouthed talking teeth), Keller’s art delivers the “message” while entertaining, inviting close study and provoking belly laughs. A perfect gift for the dentist who has everything. Every waiting room (and library) needs a copy. (Picture book. 8-10)

Pub Date: May 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-8050-6192-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2000

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ACCIDENTAL LILY

PLB 0-679-99138-7 Since moving to Philadelphia, six-year-old Lily Hill (Private Lily, 1998, etc.) has had almost nightly problems with bad dreams and bed-wetting. Embarrassed by these accidents, she doesn’t see how she can accept a friend’s invitation to a sleepover birthday party. Inventive and persistent, Lily devises a foolproof plan with her brother, Case’she will use a washable sleeping bag and pack an extra set of clothes. To her surprise, Lily also learns that bed-wetting is a common problem among her peers when another child’s problem is carelessly announced to the entire first grade. For those children facing a similar battle, Lily’s fear of exposure and plan of attack will ring true, making this the perfect read-aloud. Gutsy by nature, Lily is not going to let a small problem prevent her from attending her best friend’s birthday party. Brief and satisfying for the audience. (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: May 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-679-89138-2

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1999

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IT'S SO AMAZING!

A BOOK ABOUT EGGS, SPERM, BIRTH, BABIES, AND FAMILIES

Harris and Emberley fill the gap between their picture book, Happy Birth Day (1996), and the instant-classic It’s Perfectly Normal (1994) with this equally sensitive, good-humored take on love and sex, puberty, genetics, pregnancy, and related topics, from sibling rivalry to HIV. Emberley supplies side (and snide) commentary from an eager bird and a reluctant bee to go along with cartoon depictions of anatomical details, human figures in a marvelous variety of ages, shapes, and skin colors, and a dramatic sequence covering fetal development from one month to nine in actual size. Never talking down to readers, Harris takes wide-angled views of sexual preferences, birth control, and the meaning of “family,” while making the terminology less forbidding by mixing it with familiar comparisons: “The epididymis is a long, twisty, coiled tube. It is shaped somewhat like a telephone receiver, but smaller.” The collaborators expertly walk the line between frankness and bluntness, keeping the actual sex act under the covers, and nimbly explaining how abuse differs from normal human contact and affection. Closing on a cheery note with a look at new baby customs in several parts of the world, this provides sensible, reassuring answers to readers’ questions and concerns, and interrupts the rain of information with occasional silliness. (index) (Nonfiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-7636-0051-2

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1999

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